Sunday, 30 September 2012

Review; Estée Lauder Flawless Wear Stay in Place Concealer

This concealer, part of the Double Wear range, after a rave review from a trusted friend I invested in the medium shade. I'd usually go for a slightly lighter shade but she was told (by an Estée Lauder artist) to go a shade darker for under eyes so I thought i'd give it a go. The medium shade, although scarily dark, is quite peachy so I thought it'd work much like a corrector.
The concealer comes in a tube with a typical rabbit foot applicator. It's very heavily pigmented which is great because you can use minimal product but still hide some pretty meaty dark circles. I've been using aroun d a third less than I'd normally wear if using Revlon Beyond Natural or Benefit Boi-ing.
I have found some long wear products to be a bit dry but this seems to mimic my skin nicely without creasing, becoming greasy or fading for about 8 hours It blends into my foundation well & sets quickly. I particularly like the fact I didn't need to powder it to get it to last, for me this is such a bonus as I find most powders begin to look flakey & cakey by lunchtime, especially when I'm tired.
If this product is an indication of the staying power of the whole range I can see why it has an army of devoted followers. I can see this concealer becoming a firm favourite within my collection. I can't wait to get this in a lighter shade so I can use it on my blemishes too.

Friday, 28 September 2012

5 ways not to be scammed when beauty buying on eBay

I can waste hours of my life (& heaps of £££!) on eBay but I've heard a few horror stories & seen some nasty fakes when it comes to beauty bargains. I've always been pretty lucky so I thought I'd share my top tips for receiving happy parcels.

1. READ feedback. Don't just look at the percentage as some people leave comments that are not as promising as the positive sign may suggest. Equally I've seen very good comments posted under negative feedback so its worth double checking. 

2. If it looks too good to be true, it will be. You're never going to get a full set of MAC brushes for £5, pre owned or not. Check out the RRP before you search eBay so you're aware of the value of what you're bidding on and be realistic. This works both ways as I've seen products listed for much more than their market value. Ok if its a sold out limited edition but not if its a Sleek palette you can pick up for less than £10 in Superdrug and its listed at £14.99. Be aware of the brands the Fakers love, MAC in particular seems to get hit more than most.

3. Do some market research. I go into department stores to test, swatch and generally suss out products before I go bargain hunting. I like to know what the packing looks and feels like, the consistency and smell of the product and how much product I should expect for my money. Some fakes are really good. I remember a Benefit Bad Gal mascara which, to the untrained eye, was absolutely fine (packing and brush identical) but I use this all the time I knew the formula was wrong. One message mentioning my suspicions and I received a full refund! 

4. Quality not quantity. Although there are hundreds of reputable eBay shops (& I frequent a lot of them) I'm always weary of very cheap products being sold in vast quantities especially if its hard to find or limited edition. This always makes me suspicious. Ensure there's picture of the exact shade you're buying, if not ask the seller to send you some, look for products that come boxed if you're buying a new product &if you've any doubts do a quick google to check there's not a mass of blogs/forums and the like discussing imitations.

5. Its ok to buy used. In my experience the best bargains come from people like you and I, selling off unwanted gifts, unused impulse buys or making room in their collections. Now I'd never buy a used mascara or anything creamy that people may have had their grubby paws in (!!) but powder products, eye shadows and the like are easily sanitised and it is here you can not only be more sure you're getting the real deal but also make the best savings. I've won MAC shadows for 99p and a Dior Blusher for £5! Discontinued products are also great value, just don't find your Holy Grail foundation or you'll be disappointed when you come to rebuy!

These five rules have (all bar one mascara!) seen me right on eBay and although I'm cautious and frustrated by the immense amount of fakery out there, I have SO much love for eBay and the wonderful people who offer us great bargains every day.

Bored of the Old Routine.

I'm so fickle. While some may say 'if it's not broke don't fix it' I'm more inclined towards change for changes sake. My current skin care routine is perfectly adequate but I'm bored, I want to mix it up a bit & try some new products.

The Status Quo

I currently use Elemis Rehydrating Rose Petal Cleanser, followed by Olay Anti Wrinkle Wash & Elemis Ginseng Toner. If I've worn particularly heavy make up or my skin feels it needs something a bit richer I like to use a hot cloth like Soap & Glory The Fab Pore or Boot Botanics Cleansing Balm. To remove my eye make up I use good old Johnson & Johnson Baby Oil. I've had stick about this in the past but I find it is the only thing that cuts through stubborn mascara and gel liner, whilst being gentle on my eyes. I usually use a face mask once a week, something deep pore cleansing or moisturising if my skin is a bit drier. 

On to pastures new...

Inspired by the many posts I've read about cleansing oils I've ordered some Shu Uemura Fresh Pore Clarifying Gentle Cleansing Oil and as I'm a bit weary of putting oil on my combination skin I've stocked up on an old favourite Bioderma Crealine H20 to use as a toner as although not really necessary I find the squeaky clean feeling I get from using a toner reassuring! I'll probably continue with the Olay Anti Wrinkle wash in the mornings as its quick, I like the gentle exfoliating effect and my skin seems quite keen on it. I've also invested in a sample of Clarins Lotus Treatment Oil which I'll be using at night as it is meant to be very good for rebalancing combination skin. 

 Lotions & Potions

In terms of creams I use a bit of a mixture depending on what kind of mood my skin is in. When its really dry I use Elemis Maximum Moisture Day Cream but its a bit rich for me so often I just dab that on the dry bits. I had been using Nivea Q10 Pore Refining Day Cream until I received a sample of Vichy Idealia (, its so nice that this is my current day cream of choice. I'm also quite keen on Neals Yard Rehydrating Rose Daily Moisture if my skin is good and my pores are having a skinny day! I think I'll probably stick with the Vichy for now as its been well over a week with no breakouts (yeay!)
At night I tend to stick with Old Faithful, Olay Anti Wrinkle Instant Hydration. However, I'm coming to the end of a pot and I'm eyeing up (boom ,boom!) L'Oreal Revitalift Repair 10 Multi-Active and I've seen this on offer somewhere lately so think I've give it a shot. 
My eye area tends to be a bit greasy and because I use baby oil to remove my eye make up I'm usually quite sparing with the eye cream at night, I'm using Balance Me Wonder Eye Cream morning and night at the moment because it does seem to lift and brighten nicely. I'm think of adding  ROC Multi Correction Anti Age cream at night as I think its probably time to take a stand against fine lines and wrinkles!!

So that's my new skincare regime for the new season, here hoping for some positive results!!

Naked! Braving the Barely There trend.

There's nothing I like more than lashings of black liner, a smokey eye or a statement lip. I love to be made up, it makes me feel ready for the day. So trying out a no make up, make up look ejected me right out of my comfort zone.


I love a full coverage foundation, it's a rare & happy day when I feel my skin is up to a sheer a base! That said, I do like my skin to look like skin. So I began my naked face by applying Chanel Vitaluminiere Aqua with my fingers & took a tiny Real Techniques accent brush with some Revlon Beyond Natural concealer to cover any blemishes then mixed some Avon MagiX Illuminator into the concealer & worked it under my eyes with a Real Techniques domed crease brush. I set the concealer with Max Factor loose powder.


I contoured very, very lightly with Benefit Hoola ( & highlighted my cheek bones, chin & between my eyebrows with the lightest touch of Trish McEvoy Duo mineral highlighting powder. Using a Nars Yachiyo (no. 27) brush I swept a sheer wash of MAC Melba over the apples of my cheeks.


Now this is where I got really uncomfortable, I always contour & always line my water line so determined to keep things very minimal I lined my water line with an Urban Decay 24/7 concealer pencil & primed my lids with the Revlon concealer. I used a MAC 239 brush to sweep Estée Lauder Sandbar Beige all over the lid then took the tiniest touch Estée Lauder Sepia Sand on a Real Techniques accent brush really close to the lower lashes for a bit of definition.
I curled my lashes & wiped most of Maybelline Great Lash in black/brown Off the wand before really working the brush into the roots of my lashes & brushing through with a lash comb.


I coloured my lips in using Richer Raisin Chubby Stick which gave a subtle 'just licked' sheen. Think I could have benefited from a lip pencil for a bit of definition but I didn't have anything suitable.


It felt odd to look in the mirror & see myself facially naked but it was enough for me to look quite polished. I'll definitely be wearing this look again I loved not having to check for black eye 'gack' & panda eyes. It took me a bit of time to achieve the look I was after but it was worth it to look fresh & casual.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Review; Benefit Hoola. Second Time Lucky.

The recent make up cull has thrown up a few forgotten gems but also a few shamefully unused impulse buys. Until this week I would have put Hoola firmly into the later category. Not renown for my bronzed beauty it was perhaps an odd purchase anyway.
Hoola is a matt powder that is a strangely grey looking light brown colour packaged in a cute little box typical of Benefit blush/bronzers. It is quite pigmented but very fine in texture & blends away to almost nothing.
Now when I do reach for a bronzer I usually want something with a bit of sunkissed shimmer. However, this looks really flat in the pan & a bit dirty on the skin, which is probably why I didn't fall in love with this product at the time. 

Before throwing this into the 'to go' pile I thought I'd have a quick play. I normally love Benefit products so thought this deserved a second chance.
I discovered that although this will never feature on my 'bronzers to love' list it makes a fantastic contouring product.
I'm not really a big fan of those flat square brushes that come with Benefit powders but used sideways under the cheek bone they give quite a precise line. For me, this is a helpful point from which to start contouring. Once I'd got a fairly strong stripe of colour, I took a clean angled blusher brush and blended it out a bit. I was pleasantly surprised by how nicely this powder blends. Still looking a bit heavy I got a Real Techniques Expert face brush & buffed some more. What I was left with was something near the best contours I've ever achieved. This colour really suits my pale complexion allowing me create a very natural finish & being matt it's perfect for creating a subtle shadow.
The colour was still noticeable after about 4 hours but I haven't given it a fair 'all day' test yet as I've been wearing it to work & through out the day I have to wear a mask which, as you can imagine, plays havoc with the staying powder of most face powders!

Monday, 24 September 2012

Needed a Colour Hit & Found a Rimmel Review.

Today has been so cold, dark & wet that I needed a colour injection to boost my spirits this evening. Was riffling through my lipsticks I stumbled across this little gem from Rimmel, a quick slick later and I was feeling perky enough to write a little review. 

Rimmel Lasting Finish by Kate Moss (01)

I bought this lipstick in Sainsbury's for £5.49. I'll admit it was a panic buy, the morning of a wedding and all my reds were a bit too dark for my outfit. In the tube this looks a bit brown but I'm glad I swatched it in the shop as it is actually quite a 'red' red. It seems to morph into a cherry red as soon as its applied and although bright is very wearable. I know a few people who have tried this shade and it seems to suit everybody from fair to medium-dark. 

The packaging is a fairly basic matt black tube but doesn't look as cheap as it should for just over a fiver. I do have a little gripe though, the plastic seal was so super sticky that it left a residue on the tube that needed a good scrub with nail polish remover before I could put it in my handbag!!! 
I really like the 'sweetie' smell of Rimmel lipsticks, always reminds me of those candy necklaces, but it may not be for everybody. It isn't overpowering but it is noticeable. The formula is very smooth and leaves a subtle glossy finish. Pigment wise I'm impressed for the price and it really does last quite well. I wear it over a Rimmel Exaggerate lip pencil (see below) and get about 4 hours of wear before I need to reapply. I'm normally adamant about the use of a lip brush, especially with bold colours but I've found myself applying this straight from the tube on more than one occasion. I like the fact a light layer buffed out with a brush or cotton bud gives a pretty stain that isn't too drying like some lip tints can be. 
I'd be more than happy to try the other colours in this range as for the price I think you get a very decent lipstick, its a shame that the other 7 colours have failed to capture my imagination so far. 
L; 001 over 024 pencil. Centre; 024 pencil. R; 001 lipstick

Rimmel Exaggerate Full Colour Lip Liner Definer (Red Diva 024)

I've had this in my collection for probably 2 years now and use it quite a lot. I was trying to list the reasons I reach for this over my other red liners and I think the main one is not needing to sharpen it, making it good for taking out/reapplying. Its also smooth to apply and seems to work under a couple of my reds despite not being a perfect match. If I'm feeling lazy part way through and evening or for a daytime red lip I wear this alone or with a bit of Benefit's Her Glossiness over the top. It does dry out quite quickly on the lip so my lips need to be in good condition for it to work alone. 

Vinyl Jelly Gloss Lip Liner

Whilst I'm on the subject of Rimmel Lips, their Vinyl Jelly Gloss Lip Liners are worth a mention. I saw these on eBay for £1.75 each, I think they've been discontinued now as I can't find them at Boots or Superdrug. I have 009 Hot Spark and 001 Moreish. I wasn't quite sure about these to start with, I used them underneath gloss and my lips feel overwhelmed by product and they colour didn't last more than half a drink! When I tried them solo however I found them to be somewhere between a lipstick and a gloss and the colour lasted much longer (a coffee and a cigarette at least). I like how they give more depth of colour than a gloss, make it easy to define the lip and feel very smooth. Due to the very soft formula though they do need sharpening before every application which makes them pretty much a no go for a night out (do you take a sharpener in your clutch? Thought not!). I'm not surprised these have not been a hit but if you can pick them up super cheap on eBay, they're worth a try for subtle Saturday afternoon lips. They're probably best described as cheap as chips but much skinner and less moisture rich versions of the clinique chubby sticks with a bit more pigmentation. 
009 Hot Spark

001 Moreish

Saturday, 22 September 2012

A Girl Can Dream

This week I read about Sisley Global Perfect Pore Minimiser, thinking to myself I could do with some of that I did a bit of searching on good old google and discovered its a princely £119 per 30ml. Slightly disappointed by my inability to ever spend that on a face cream I got to think about what I'd buy when my 6 magic numbers come tumbling out of Lancelot. This is my fantasy beauty shopping list........

Sisley Global Perfect Pore Minimiser (£119)

According to the Harrods website this is a powerful skin enhancing concentrate, an all round corrector and preventative treatment. It contains Java tea & Ratanhy Extract & soothes due to the addition of natural alpha-bisabolol.

Sisley Eau de Campange Bath Oil (£54)

Whilst I'm picking up my Global Pore Minimiser I may as well slip this into the basket! St Johns Wort, Calendula & Hawthorn oils would make the perfect addition to my bath after a long walk around the grounds of my French Chateau.

Laduree Cheek Colour (£??)

Sticking with the French theme, these little beauties caught my eye on Pinterest. They look far too beautiful to actually use. There's not much information online yet other than they are being released across Europe in the Autumn as part of Laduree's cosmetic range called Les Merveilleuses de Ladurée. They are available in Japan and there's some YouTube footage around. So excited to see these in the flesh, I want them all!

Estee Lauder Zodiac Powder Compact, Taurus (£65)

I've been looking a pretty vintage (& crazy blingy!) compacts for a while now but can't be trusted not to lose them so have held off making a purchase. Love this one as it reminds me of a pendant I had in my teenage years. It comes filled with Lucidity Translucent pressed powder.

Tom Ford Bronzer Brush (£80)

Being slightly brush obsessed I'm often mooching around the net, lusting after shapes or fibre. its the shape of this brush that does it for me. Its made with natural hair and shaped to pick up the optimum amount of product and distribute that product evenly onto face. 

Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb Voluptuous Body Cream (£79.50)

Now anything that is described as having a texture that 'invites hedonism' is going to score quite highly with me! Harrods say is 'drapes the skin in velvet', I say it smells so pretty! I have seen a bath caviar in John Lewis (check out the Viktor & Rolf section on their website, its lovely) which would make a nice addition to this. Is it shallow to mention how good the jar would look in my bedroom?!

Creme de la Mer, The Eye Balm Intense (£125)

This is a limited edition product that comes in a sleek looking metallic tray. It contains 3 trade mark registered compounds, one of which is called Miracle Broth (amazing!) that offers an advanced secret to younger looking eyes by penetrating the skin and renewing from deep within. The balm texture is apparently really comforting. I like slightly surgical look of the applicator too. 

Czech & Speake Rose Bath Oil (£45)

Its rosy, it comes with a clever shaker top that dispenses a measure amount, the bottle is very pretty, whats not to love? It sounds heavenly too, emulsifying in water to leave skin moisturised, smooth and lightly scented.

Kiel's Swarovski Edition Creme De Corps (£1600)

Let me start by saying for that crazy price you do get one litre of product. I've tried creme de corps before (from eBay) and it is super enriched, leaving the skin feeling amazing, a little goes a long way, especially with regular use so a litre would last a good, long while. I love the complete out and out bling of the bottle, I think I'd feel like Elton was sharing my bathroom! To get ultimate value for money I guess you could dispense future body lotions into the bottle, so really its an investment!!

Well, I won't be rushing out to buy these this week, but I'll keep try and one day you'll see me staggering through Knightsbridge laden, weak with euphoria after completing my wish list!!

Everything's Rosy

Nothing restores my soul faster than the smell of roses. As my product cull continues I've come to realise that I have what can only described as a full blown addiction to all things rosy. So I thought I'd indulge myself by posting a little round up of my favourites......

Dr Hauschka Rose Body Oil

This is firmly top of the rosy pops in my book. Its just divine, when I was pregnant I used a whole bottle of this. It's a blend of damask rose and jojoba oils in sunflower seed oil which leaves the skin so, so soft, its not too greasy and smells like Heaven itself. It is soothing and you can really feel it caring for the skin.  I'd bathe in this daily given the chance! It s for around £20 for 75ml which would last those less heavy handed than myself a good 6 months, I think I got mine heavily discounted on eBay. 

Paul Smith Rose

My fabulous sister gave me a bottle of this one Christmas based purely on the name! As you'd expect it is very rosy but it is also fresh, sensual and smells a lot more modern than you might expect! It's floralness (is that even a word?) is balanced by a woody undertone which makes it deeper and more sensuous. I'm really quite addicted to this and love the body lotion too.

Champney Classic Rose Hand Wash & Wild Rose Range

I have a feeling the Classic Rose range may have been discontinued as I've not seen it in Boots for a while and Sainsbury's doesn't stock Champney's anymore (boo!) which is a real shame as this hand wash and the matching hand lotion were so lovely, left hands silky soft and lightly scented but the lotion absorbed easily and didn't leave a greasy residue.
Any sadness from the discontinuation of the classic rose was quickly forgotten on receiving a bottle of the wild rose bathing cream. This bubbles up nicely and feels so indulgent, leaves skin really soft and the scent lasts on the skin for ages afterwards. Its a blend or rose and rose hip oils which smells rosy enough but without being 'old lady'. I've not been able to find a matching body lotion which is a shame but have just discovered the Champney website has a 3 for 2 offer on at the minute!!

Montagne Jeunesse Damask Rose Indulgent Spa Face Mask

I can not slide into a bath full of Wild Rose without a generous helping of this smothered over my face. I've used lots of the Montagne masks over the years but had never seen this one until my wonderful mum gave me a tube of it (in a rose themed Christmas Hamper with the Champney's bath cream and the up coming candle! I did say I was obsessed!!). This mask doesn't just smell incredible but it leaves my skin softer and more supple and it doesn't itch as it dries like some Montagne masks do. I love how this comes in a tube that will last 5-10 applications depending on how dry your skin is feeling.

Marks and Spencer Fresh Rose Candle

Now, if you're going to pamper yourself with roses in the bathroom, you absolutely must have a rose scented bedroom to return to. This candle is lovely, it smells really fresh and is strong enough to scent a room but not overwhelm it and the scent lasts a good while after the candle is out. Not sure what the burn time is on these but I find they last a good couple of months of a couple of evenings a week burning. I can't go into Marks and Spencer without hunting for one of these! The box is lovely too.

Crabtree & Evelyn Rose Water Range

It was the Glycerine soaps from this range that first ignited my passion for all things rose scented. When I was a kid my mum worked in a hotel where each bathroom had a heart shape one. I thought they were the cutest things. Recently a friend from my halls of residence days came to stay and she said these soaps will always remind her of our nasty bathroom!!
Anyway these soaps are an absolute classic, beautiful old English rose scent, they're not drying (I have been know to use them on my face) and last ages. The whole range smells divine. I keep meaning to invest in the Hand Recovery Scrub. Later in the year when the winter and the frequent use of Alcohol based hand washes at work will no doubt leave them 'rough as a badgers arse' to quote a friend, this may come in handy (no pun intended) Perhaps Father Christmas will be reading this post!!

English Provender Rose Water

Ok, so this isn't a fully paid up member of the beauty product club, in fact I first bought it for a recipe but it makes a lovely toner, it's refreshing mixed with water in a facial spritz and it smells like Turkish delight. I've used it to sooth bite and stings and if my skin is feeling a bit ravaged a sweep of this on a cotton wool pad just makes me feel better!! 

The Best of The Rest

A couple of other notables to mention, they are lovely just not in my desert island rose hamper.
Yankee Candle; True Rose, smells lovely but burn it for too long and its overwhelming.
Body Shop Moroccan Rose Body Butter, like all body shop butters its a lovely consistency and smells great but mine went a bit 'off' in the tub, no idea why it just turned really solid after about a month.
Dr Organic Rose Otto Shampoo (from Holland and Barrett) smells lovely and leaves hair smelling lovely for hours but my hair never felt really clean afterwards, think its probably more suited to really dry hair and scalp.
Marks and Spencer Rose Lip Balm, small Vaseline type tin that I don't think is even available anymore. I've had it years and it refuses to die as a little goes a really long way. 

There you have it, I could probably go on for several hundred more words if I put my mind to it but realise not everybody is quite so passionate about roses, except maybe my mother!

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Vichy Idealia Day Care Cream

I wasn't in the market for a new day cream as I'm currently give Niva Visage Anti-wrinkle Q10+ pore refining day cream a proper road test, but as I recieved a sample of this in September's Glossybox I thought I may as well try it out. 50ml of this product normally retails at £22 but is currently on offer on a couple websites.
I do like a dinky little pot!

The Claims

Smooths, illuminates, evens out skin tone.
Refines and promotes vitality by using 3% concentration of  Kombucha extract (from black tea apparently).
AHAs for a boost to the micro circulation.
Vitamin B for healthy skin.

Test Conditions

After 3 days of broken sleep and general poorliness my skin was lack lustre to say the least! I cleansed with Olay Anti Wrinkle Wash and applied a smartie size dollop of Idealia, massaging in well. I left it to settle in for about 10 minutes before applying my make up as normal. 


This cream felt a bit rich for my combination skin and smelled quite fruity. Apparently the frangrance is kombucha-inspired, tea sweeten with white flowers (description on, I found it a bit off putting, to be honest, but it didn't linger. 
The cream absorbed fairly quickly and I did notice a brightening effect, my pores certainly looked more refined and my skin had an almost velvety texture, a bit like after using Benefits Dr Feelgood. My foundation (Max Factor Ageless Exilir) seemed to glide over more effortlessly than usual too. l
I conducted thorough examination of my skin after about 4 hours and I was pleasantly suprised, smooth & bright and pores still fairly tight. I was expecting to be a bit greasier after rushing around after a toddler and cooking the tea! I did wonder whether my return to health may be clouding my judgement as my skin had been looking particularly dull for the last week.
I think I'll stick with this one for a while as the claims suggest that regular use will improve the appearance of the skin. I'm slightly weary that it'll break me out after a couple of weeks of continual use (frequent occurance with many creams that promise to give me some radiance) due to its richness but only time will tell on that one. Overall I'm much more impressed than I thought I would be, but won't be rushing out to buy a full size jar just yet. 

The last word (& not from me!)

I got my Husband to proof read this review and he said 'I did notice your skin was looking good earlier.' High praise indeed!

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Wish List For October

Every month on Payday I treat myself to a little haul of beauty goodies. On the wish list, amongst the usual eye colours and lotions & potions, this month are cream blushers, nude lips and concealers. I'd love recommendations and suggestions so please leave a comment and I'll let you know how I get on. 

On the look out for skin care.

I'm currently intrigued by cleansing oils. Having slightly oily skin I've always steered clear of anything oily on my face but having read so interesting reviews lately I'm currently after Shu Uemura Fresh Pore Clarifying Oil or High Performance Balancing Beauty Oil. I think I'd follow up with an old favourite Bioderma Ceraline H2O used as a toner so I feel squeaky clean. I used the Bioderma obsessively for months until I kind of forgot about it but I think I'm going to dig out the dregs of a bottle that's lingering in the back of the cupboard and reignite my love for it. 
I'm also keen to try Clinique's Take Off the Day cleansing balm. I'm a big fan of the Boots Botanics Organic Hot Cloth Cleansing Balm. I love a hot cloth, I always feel really deeply clean afterwards particularly if I've worn heavy foundation. I've not heard much about the Clinique one but if I can find one on eBay I think it'll be worth a try.
Finally, inspired by an article in the current Glamour magazine, I'm hoping to try some products for combination skin, namely, Decleor Cleanse Fresh Purifying Gel and Clarins Lotus Face Treatment Oil.

I Hide it Well.

Concealers are on my radar this month as I come to the end of yet another pot of Boi-ing. Having read hundreds of reviews of the Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage I think that's going to be top of the list but I'm also going to try the Collection/Collection 2000 Lasting Perfection as it seems to be doing well in the reviews and its cheapy cheap, cheap. If I happen to be in the MAC store I may take a look at the Studio Finish which I've always shied away from because I don't get on very well with MAC foundations. If all else fails i may return to the Vichy Dermablend as I've used it in the past with pretty good results.

The Naked Lip

Finally, I'm going to spend some time on nude lips. Now when I think nude lips I usually reach for a balm, tinted balm or subtle gloss. When it comes to nude colour I always get it wrong. Its either too brown, too pale or too pink. I'm going to start by investing in a No7 Perfect Lips Pencil in Nude and brandish it like a weapon as I scour the counters for a matching lipstick, perhaps something like MAC Blankety or Hue or Revlon Matte Lipstick in Nude Attitude. 
Also looking forward to trying the Collection 2000 Cream Puff Lip cream in Angel Delight & Fairy Cake. With Winter on the way I'll be keeping my eyes open for balms and salve as well.

A Rosy Glow

I've never really taken to cream blusher but with the colder weather by dry patches will surely expand so I think its time I properly experimented with a creamy texture that will hopefully add a healthy dewy glow as well as a bit of colour.. I'll probably start with a Max Factor Miracle Touch as I like the foundation and the colours I've swatched have been lovely, especially Soft Murano. Also like the look of Revlon PhotoReady Cream Blush in Pinched.

So there end's my shopping list for this month, now all I've got to do is count the days to payday!!

Without You I'm Nothing; Esme's Top Ten

Where Do I Begin?

Those of you who have read my post on mascaras (probably not many of you! its a new blog, tiny audience etc.), will already know that over the last few months I've being ruthlessly editing and updating my make up collection. Once it threatened to take over the bedroom I decided the time had come to stop being sentimental about it and streamline, making way for future favourites and allowing me to rediscover those little gems that had been sidelined under the weight of many internet bargains and high street hauls. So a little apprehensively and slightly daunted by the task ahead I started by deciding upon the products I just could not live without. This post is a tribute to them, a thank you for being faithful and dependable in my ever changing world of cosmetic lust!!

Line up, line up!

I have a bit of a reputation when it comes to black eyeliner, its my signature. I can be followed by a trail of black Kohl pencils! Although I cheated a bit including two I feel it is justifiable.

 Avon Mega Impact Gel Eyeliner

 Firstly, my love for this pencil knows no bounds. I stumbled upon it when it was on offer at £4 ish and have not looked back. I probably have at least 5 knocking about! It lines the water line beautiful and sticks like no other I've ever tried (there's been a few!) On the lid it smudges out nicely and lasts all day. Many would argue it's the only liner you'll ever need. Not me however.......

Maybelline Lasting Drama 24H Gel Liner

Until recently I've always been a Fluidline kind of girl, tried the Bobbi Brown version but it lasted a bit too well for my liking (I swear you could tattoo with that stuff!), then I found myself away for the weekend without my trusty Blacktrax & no MAC counter in sight. Contrary to my expectation, the world didn't end! I wandered into Superdrug and picked up this little baby for less than a tenner. Smooth application, hugely pigmented, doesn't dry out as quickly in the pot and almost half the price of a Fluidline, whats not to love?! I'm on my 3rd pot now and haven't looked back!

Eye, eye!

I'm a bit of a peacock when it comes to eyes, I love colour, shimmer, smokey, drama. For me applying eyeshadow is therapy, my dream would be show make up for drag queens! Yet sadly, my job requires something a bit more understated so when considering what I couldn't live without I realised I'd have to include some nudey naturals alongside the deeper, richer, frankly more exciting shadows. 

MAC Paint Pot - Soft Ochre

This little fella is lasting me ages! I mainly use it as a base but it looks lovely on its own with a bit of black liner and a flick. It glides on smoothly and doesn't crease, it does dry quickly though so needs a bit of speed when blending. The Yellowy undertones mean it corrects any redness quite well too. 

Sleek i-Divine Palette - Au Naturel 

I really can't remember how I managed 'work day' eyes before I had this in my life. It'd be possible to pull a pretty smokey look out of this palette too but I've yet to try that.
 A smashing range of neutral, suit all colours which withstand a 10 hour day no problem (although I always, always prime with something). I use the darkest shades to line and contour and although the shimmery colours are beautiful they don't have the staying power of the matt. A tiny bit of fallout but considering the price they fair really well. 

Bourjois Ombre a Paupieres - Various shades

Just looking at these little pots makes me smile. I've had these in various colour in my collection since I was a school girl. The texture blends nicely, the colour pay off is great, the range of shades seems to be endless. I have about ten of these at the moment, long term favourites include 07 Noir Emeraude, beautifully shimmering emerald green, 04 Noir Precieux, the deep royal purple version of the emerald green and 34 Rose Tentation, a pearlised pink that looks really natural on the eyes and works well as a highlight or super subtle blusher too. I see these shadows as a staple, I'll probably add to the collection as time goes by and could not throw any away!

Rose Tentation; centre, Noir Emeraude; right, 72; left.

On The Face of It

I couldn't include foundation or blushers in my top ten as I have no loyalty at all when it comes to these! It depends on how my skin is behaving, the season, new releases, the look I'm trying to create etc. But there are a couple of things that come rain or shine I'll reach for time and time again and always repurchase.

Trish McEvoy Duo Highlighting Mineral Powder

I develop a massive crush on Trish products about 5 years ago and although I still love the planner concept and ADORE the brushes, I've fallen out of love with many of the products unless I'm doing something uber subtle. However, the Duo Highlighting Powder is amazing. Being of a slightly greasy persuasion (especially 7 hours into a 10 hour day!) I much prefer a powder highlight for everyday use. I like a highlight that is not glittery or overly shimmery in the daylight and particularly under the fluorescent lights at work. This ticks all the boxes, its matt but light reflective so emphasises my cheek and brow bones in a radiant but never obvious way. I look so much more polished and sculpted when wearing this but you'd not notice unless you'd seen me before application (not going to happen often!!). Most days I only need to touch it up around lunch time unless its particularly humid. Yes its expensive and quite had to find but its worth it, this is probably the only product I use every time I reach for the make up box. It lasts ages too, I'm on my second in 5 years.

 MAC Bronzing Powder - Golden & Mineralize Skin Finish - Light

Being pale and interesting by nature, bronzer is something I can take or leave but I find this one is a great shade for contour on me. It has a slight shimmer which I'd usually avoid when contouring but the shimmer fades really quickly leaving the colour behind. This powder blends well and builds easily despite being fairly subtle initially. If I do decide I want a bronzed look, this gives me a natural glow without overwhelming my fairness. I also like to run a bit through my crease on a grey smokey eye to warm things up a bit. 
MSF is my go to, fall back, fail safe finishing powder. A dusting on my chin, T zone and under my eyes sets everything, doesn't oxidise like some powders I've tried and stands up to rushing around well. I'm currently road testing some loose HD powders but as yet nothing has rivalled this. 
MAC Bronzing Powder in Golden

Benefit Boi-ing Industrial Strength Concealer - 01

This certainly lives up to its name! It was the promise of industrial strength that first drew me to this concealer if I'm totally honest. When my skin is angry, everybody knows it! I break out if I use the wrong products, if I'm hormonal, if I'm ill and it takes a good week of extra TLC for it to calm down, leaving me a self conscious wreck. This concealer hides a multitude of sins with a thin layer, so no cakey bits, it does need a little help from a bit of powder to give it enough umph to last all day but the coverage it provides allows me to forgive it this. The only other down side is its not quite up to the job of under eyes as it creases but for blemishes it wins hands down. 
Well used and much loved.

Jemma Kidd Dewy Glow All Over Radiance Creme - Ice Gold

This is a compact of magic as far as I'm concerned. Its one of the latest additions to my make up box and its certainly a keeper. I raved extensively about it in my first ever post so won't go over board here. All I can say is I really don't know how this works but it does, exceptionally well. Its everything I want from a highlighter, almost undetectable to the untrained eye but reflects light like you can not believe. The first time I applied it I wondered if I'd picked up an empty brush as I couldn't see it on my skin, then I stepped back, the light hit my cheeks and I had the most beautiful healthy glow that looked super natural. Cannot recommend this product enough!

Getting Lippy

MAC lipstick- Viva Glam 1 

When it comes to lips I'm an all or nothing kind of girl. Super natural clear glosses (usually because my eye make up is quite heavy) or deep, rich, dark bold lips that take me back to my gothy teenage years! This lipstick was recommended to me by the sales lady in the MAC shop and when I tried it I knew it was me in tube, when she told me this was colour the amazing Miss Von Teese favoured I knew I was sold! Sadly they had sold out, so on a mission I visited the other 2 other MAC counters with a sinking feeling that I would not be wearing 'Dita Von Teese' lipstick that night, but good ol' Harvey Nic's came through and I've not looked back. This is now my red of choice, yes I've got similar but the texture and longevity of this combined with its matt finish makes it a clear winner every time. A quick sweep of this and I instantly feel like a lady.

So there it is in black (well purple) and white, my all time top ten products. Of course I couldn't live with just ten products but with these in the box I'm off to a good start.

My First Glossybox

After much procrastination, last payday I subscribed to Glossybox. I'm a sucker for a sample & often pick them up from eBay so the beauty box concept is right up my street.
This evening I was feeling rubbish, snuggled on sofa when it was delivered. It was the pick me up I needed. After reading a few spoilers on various blogs I had a pretty good idea what to expect but I still couldn't help the excitement I felt as I opened the box.
It was beautifully packaged & the limited edition pale green box designed by illustrator Maggie Li (if you like the box check out her website, particularly the type section) is a treat in itself. I loved the tissue paper & ribbon, it felt like I was opening something really classy & special.
So I sat there, looking like death in my dressing gown (currently poorly, not just lazy!) I felt like I was holding a rather lovely gift & I began to consider the contents.
Firstly, an envelop containing 4 sachets from Rodial, 2 Glamoxy snake serum & 2 five minute  facial masks.

 I've been keen to try these products for a while but I have fussy skin that's easily angered so have yet to take the plunge & pay full price for something I'm not 100% sure will suit me. These products are normally sold in boxes of 10 sachets, the snake serum costing £29 and the mask £10.95, so these samples go some way in justifying the price of the box. I intend to give these products a post of their own once I've tested them, so I won't start waxing lyrical on my excitement for these right now.

Delving further into the shredded black packing I find a sample of the new Lady Gaga fragrance. Now, I'll freely admit my disdain for celebrity fragrances, so this isn't something I'd normally try in a department store. I was pleasantly surprised. On first sniff it put me in mind of My McQueen but it settled into something sweeter but by no means sickly. I wish I could put my finger on what it reminds me of, perhaps Paco Rabanne Black XS? Whatever it is, its actually very nice & seems to be lasting well.
The addition of the Balance Me Wonder Eye Cream pleased me. I had a sample of this free with a magazine & have been using it as my day time eye cream frequently over the last few weeks. I have just finished the sample and was definiately considering buying a full size one. It really is very good, it smooths my under eyes well & brightens them up nicely. I much prefer it to the Weleda Wild Rose eye cream I had been using. The sample is a 7ml tube which is almost half the 15ml full size product which retails for £20, so again this is a good proportion of the cost of the box justified, especially as I know I'll use it. As an added bonus there's a discount code offering £5 off any of the Balance Me extra care products when purchased via their website. 

Next I found a 15ml jar of Vichy Idealia Day Care Cream. My sister and I are quite keen on Vichy products and although she uses the skincare I've only ever tried the foundations and conclearers. The cream claims to smooth and illuminate, improving complexion radiance. I'm yet to give this a proper road test but I popped a little bit on my sallow looking face and it felt lovely, quite rich but quickly absorbed.The tiny amount I tried did leave my skin feeling smoother but as for radiance, the jury is still out.  It is quite heavily fragranced but its a pleasant, fruity smell that doesn't linger. The full size product costs £25 and theres a discount code for 20% off from the sempleandsemple website.  

Finally, the only product I was vaguely disappointed with, Maghrabian Hair Oil. Now I've been using Macadamia hair oil every couple of weeks for nearly a year and my hair is certainly all the better for it. I was sceptical at first as my hair is both fine and greasy and the idea of oil was initially horrifying, but there was no residual greasiness from the oil and the condition of my hair improved considerably. I guess this would be the perfect way to try an oil if you haven't already but for me it was a bit of a 'blah' inclusion in what is otherwise a good little box of products. I compared the ingredients of the Maghrabian to the Macadamia and they are virtually identical, both offering nutrition and hydration to condition and add shine and vitality. I'll probably save this sample (10ml vial) to take away on holiday instead of carting my big 125ml bottle with me. Price wise, the Maghrabian sells for £24/100ml and I get 125ml of Macadamia for £15 from amazon so I'll more than likely stick with that one in the future. 

All in all, I am rather pleased with my first Glossybox, I feel the contents of the box justifies the price, the smaples are generously sized and especially with the Lady Gaga frangrance, its pushed me to try something I'd not usually consider. I'm already looking forward to my next delivery and I'm not going to read any spoilers so its a complete suprise when I open the box. I do love a suprise!

So pretty!

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Review; Clinique Chubby Sticks

I love the styling of these, they remind of chunky crayons I had as a kid. I also love the fact that I can take them out & about without having to worry about needing a sharpener. 

It's difficult to dislike these tinted lip balms as the formula is beautifully smooth but solid enough to hold its shape in the crayon. They don't wear down anywhere near as quickly as I anticipated. They feel nice on the lip but the moisturising effect doesn't last very long once the balm has worn off. Saying that, these little sticks have reasonable staying power (withstood 2 coffees, a cigarette & a flap jack!).
The colour pay off is disappointing though. I can only comment on Richer Raisin & Super Strawberry as I've not even swatched the others. Richer Raisin is so close to my natural lip colour it is perfect for using with every day neutrals. I've used the Strawberry less but it is a nice alternative to a pale pink gloss when I want something a little more subtle.

It took several layers before I could get enough colour to take a picture.

I was expecting something more pigmented, like the Revlon Lip Butters, but these are super sheer. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, they're perfect for casual looks or barely there make up, but I was after something fresher & brighter. Perhaps I should have done a bit more research before leaping into an online purchase but they looked so funky & the advertising really caught my eye! Probably wouldn't rebuy these but I'll get use from them & they last ages, even with frequent reapplication so value for money wise they score quite highly.

Friday, 14 September 2012

The Great Mascara Cull

 The Great Mascara Cull of 2012

The thought of a world without mascara leaves me cold. Its a long standing love affair that refuses to go stale. Volumising, lengthening, coloured, curling, vibrating, I've tried them all. A few weeks ago, after yet another came to be in my possession, I was forced to take stock of my collection. As the head count approached 15, I knew the time had come to ruthlessly edit. 

The Chosen Few.

I decided to limit myself to 5. Heading up the keep pile was Maybelline Great Lash. I defy anybody not to get on with this one. Its perfect for work as it gives good definition, doesn't flake or smudge so I can't get away without using a waterproof, saving myself from the world of pain that is removing a waterproof mascara after a 16 hour day!
Secondly, and this is where I cheated slightly, was Benefit Bad Gal. I love the big, bristly brush that comes with this one. The volume this gives me is pleasing, its not flaky and doesn't clump to badly after a second or even three coat. If pushed I'd choose this as my one & only mascara. I have this in black, blue and plum but have lumped them together to count as one, slightly cheeky but hey I'm making the rules here!!
Next I broke my no MAC mascara's vow and let Opulash stay. After falling out of love with Plush Lash and the horror show that was Zoom Fast Lash, I promised never to buy another MAC mascara but a rather charming salesman, resembling Julian Clary convinced me that Opulash was the answer to my prayers. Its certainly very black, always a good thing, and it gives great volume. Perfect smokey eye mascara if I'm feeling too lazy for falsies.
Avon SuperMagnify was a worthy contender for fourth place. I really like this for a natural look, I often wear it on its own on no make up days or for super casual looks. It feels really light, doesn't clump and makes my lashes look fantastically long without any spidery-ness.
Finally I just could not let my Max Factor 2000 Calorie go. I've had one for these in my collection since the dawn of time. I generally love all Max Factor mascaras but this is my favourite, although it gives me the same kind of effect as Bad Gal there's something about this formula that seems to last a bit longer and its so easy to remove. I also like the curved brush to add a bit for staying power to curled lashes. 

So Long, Goodbye ......

So what did the binman relieve me of? 
Rimmel Scandal Eyes, loved the brush but the formula stayed wet way too long and transferred onto my face. 
Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara, I found this a bit gimmicky. I've never really had trouble getting my bottom lashes, I just use the tip of the brush held vertically. This took way to long and was a bit fiddly.
L'Oreal Telescopic, came close to blinding myself on more than one occasion with this one! Didn't like the formula very much either, seemed a bit watery for my liking.
MAC Zoom Fast Lash. Hated this from the outset. Bought it after a sales assistant used it on me in the store. By the time I got to the car park my eyes were moist and it had run all down my face leaving really stubborn black streaks. Not a good look. Second attempt, it melted in the sun, same effect. Third and final try it flaked causing my eyes to run and yes, you've guessed it, the gorgeous black streaks were back again. 
DiorShow, loved how it looked but it smudged badly and always left me with panda eyes in the morning no matter how much effort i put into removing it at night.
Barry M Clear Mascara. I just didn't use this as much I thought I would. It was quite useful for blending my real lashes into falsies though. 
Avon Super Shock Mascara (Plum), I liked the colour and the formula but i like a bristly brush and this had a nylon applicator which gave good volume but not the definition I wanted, wasn't going to replace Bad Gal in my affections. 

So now I can close the lid on the mascara box even if it does look a bit naked.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

La Femme eyeshadow Palette Review; a random eBay bargain.

La Femme Eyeshadow Palette 01

I just have to share my thoughts on this palette with the world. I stumbled across it when searching eBay for a yellow eyeshadow. Not normally a colour I'd choose but I needed one for a look I've been trying to create.
This Palette cost £2.75, contains 11 colours and was free postage so I thought it was worth a shot. Never having heard of La Femme and considering the price I was expecting minimal product and crappy pigmentation. How wrong can a girl be?! Ok, so they aren't colours I'll use every day and there is enough glitter to make even Lilly Savage wince but they are super pigmented and have a gorgeous, creamy velvet texture. Perhaps it's time I put my make up snobbery to bed.

16g of  product in total, with good staying power (6 hours ish) when applied over primer (I used Benefit Lemon Aid) and they blended easily. Yes, there was some fall out, which you'd expect from a cheaper product and I wouldn't recommend these shadows for those with super sensitive eyes as the glitter is quite coarsely milled and they contain parabens which can irritate some people.

Please excuse the dodgy lighting!
I'll definitely look at the other palettes in this range and I've since read the blushes have excellent staying power so I'll be looking out for them too. I love it when a spur of the moment eBay bargain impresses me to the extent I want to buy more!

Toe Dipping In The Beauty Blog Pond!

Welcome to my Beauty Jungle!

I'm never happier than when I'm in front of a mirror with a brush in my hand, usually a Trish Mcevoy #29 Tapered Blending or #54 Va Va Voom Smudge!
My obsession began at 14 years old with little more than a black Kohl pencil & a tube of Rimmel Black Cherry lipstick & has now, sixteen years later, blossomed to such an extent that I'm about to take the plunge and train to do it professionally. So what better time to start to share my Make Up Musings with the world!

For my first post I thought I'd give a guided tour of my monthly beauty haul. This month I've had a binge on all things base; primers, foundations,concealers & highlighters.

 I'm yet to find my Holy Grail of foundations, partly due to my confused skin (oily one day, dry the next, sensitive, acne prone & porey) & partly because I'm forever searching for the next wonder product. My fail safes are Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua, Max Factor Lasting Performance or Miracle Touch & Rimmel Wake Me Up. Its pretty safe to assume that I am product whore! Anyway, what did this months haul throw into the ring? Well.....

L'Oreal Visible Lift Foundation

This claims to smooth away fine lines leaving a flawless, natural complexion. It contains vitamin E and Pro-retinol.  Its oil free and retails at around £14. Love the consistency, reminds of vitalumiere aqua. Love the finish, it gives slight glow and leaves me looking healthy but I do need some fairly substantial concealing with it as I like (& need) quite a full coverage most days. I haven't tried powdering this yet but it lasts around six hours without a primer. It smoothed out the fine lines under my eye nicely and I like the fact its SPF 17. I'll probably use this quite a lot as an easy everyday foundation.

Revlon Age Defying Spa Foundation

I think this product is now discontinued, it caught my eye on eBay when browsing. it comes in a tube with a brush applicator which streaks really badly so I squeeze it to the back of my hand then use a foundation brush to apply as normal. It contains stone minerals and a 'vitamin C fusion' which claim to energise and revitalise the skin whilst giving a SPF of 18. I've only tested this once, it gave a medium to full coverage which I liked and had a radiant finish, I didn't need highlighter as my cheek bones were super glowy. I think its probably a bit rich for me as I felt quite greasy straight after application but it lasted fairly well without powder but I think I'll like it more when dusted with my trusty MAC mineralize finishing powder. Quite a good 'pick me up' foundation but has a heavy floral smell which I found a bit off putting.

Jemma Kidd Front Cover Touch Up concealer, Mannequin Skin Complexion Enhancer & Dewy Glow Radiance Creme.


Concealer; comes in a pen with a brush tip costing around £10. Works well on my blemishes but not so good for my dark circles, just couldn't build the coverage up enough. Found the pen gives far too much product out with each click but blends nicely over my foundation. I bought 01 fair which has a strong yellow undertone which neutralises the redness of my blemishes well. 

Complexion Enhancer; I like and dislike this product in equal measure. I like it as a highlighter applied with a stippling brush or sponge both under  and over foundation. It gives a love very subtle shimmer not unlike Benefit High Beam or Moon Beam. It lasts well and makes a nice base for a light wash of matt eyeshadow. I dislike it as an addition to foundation. I mixed a couple of drops into a matt foundation and ended up looking like my head had been replaced by a disco ball!! Next i tried it as a primer, using very sparingly, same result and my foundation just slid off. I'll try it as a primer again once the winter arrives and my skin is drier and in need of radiance boost. Has a very subtle scent and a little goes quite a long way so good value for money, think it cost around £15. 

Dewy Glow All Over Radiance Creme. Few words come close to expressing my absolute adoration for this product. I love a highlighter but I also want it to be super natural, undetectable, just my skin only better. This is what this product gives me. It doesn't shimmer, its not greasy, it just works its own clever magic to make my cheek bones jump out. I usually use Trish McEvoy Duo Highlighting mineral powder but its expensive and hard to find, since this gem arrived I've hardly touch the Trish. The first time I applied it I wondered what the fuss was about as it seemed to disappear until I stepped back from the mirror and noticed I looked so healthy, the right areas were highlighted so subtly but so notably. I'm now on a mission to get one of these little beauties into every make up bag in Britain!!!I'm using it at least twice a day and it hardly looks touch, its going to last ages, excellent value for money at less than £20. This deserves Holy Grail status and I don't give that out lightly.

Benefit The Porefessional Pore Minimising Balm

I absolutely love Benefit products and this is no exception. I was a bit dubious about the colour when I first opened it but it goes on clear. it got a lovely fresh smell that isn't at all over-powering I love the texture and the way it disappears instantly leaving my skin feeling matt but not dry or tight. I haven't found any foundation that doesn't blend more smoothly over this balm. I can see my Revlon Photo Ready primer lasting twice as long now I have this in my box.

So that's what I made of my Pay Day Presents this month. October's Wish List contains conclears, nude lipsticks and cream blushers. Any suggestions?